75th Anniversary Edition
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Cecil B. DeMille’s Cleopatra, one of the most spectacular motion pictures ever to hit the silver screen, is now available in a new 75th Anniversary Edition DVD. Nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, the historical epic stars Claudette Colbert as the cunning Queen of the Nile who, wielding her beauty like a weapon, lures Roman leaders Julius Caesar (Warren William) and Marc Antony (Henry Wilcoxon) into her web of royal deception and betrayal. Featuring a digitally remastered picture and all-new bonus features, Cleopatra 75th Anniversary Edition is a stunning tribute to one of the most breathtaking motion pictures ever made.
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Claudette Colbert portrays her with just the right amount of aplomb to make the character interesting, even though much of the dialogue is enough to give you a case of the giggles! I'm sure there were audiences at the time of it's initial release that thought the script was campy, long before "Campy" was in our dictionary. Henry Wilcoxon, who would become a DeMille regular, plays Marc Antony. Henry was not that good of an actor, and he has two facial expressions in this, stern, and not so stern. But he and Colbert looked good together, and I guess that was what DeMille wanted.
I gave it 4 stars because this movie is so much fun, and despite it's flaws, it's immensely watchable! And yes, the film definitely shows it's age, but that's also part of the fun. So if you're viewing it for Claudette, or for the spectacle, you're going to be entertained either way!
P.S. The print is in good condition considering it's age!
The sets are terrific and the plot is okay, a bit hokey in parts but one big plus is that it does run under two hours unlike another Cleopatra. The battle scenes are somewhat stilted when looked at in this day and age, but when one considers how the special effects would have been achieved they are wonderfully inventive. I particularly enjoyed Claudette Colbert as the title heroine and one other thing I have noticed and admired with this film and others from the same era is that the slave/dancing girls look like real women. I love that. I was surprised at how good Warren William was having never seen or heard of him before. He could easily hold his own with any contemporary leading man. Henry Wilcoxon was a favourite of C B DeMille as of course was Claudette Colbert and they too give reasonably timeless performances. Cleopatra's Galley is a thing of wonder. Terrific.
All in all a film I recommend completely although as I said I am biased.
I particularly enjoy this story because of its simplicity. The Egypt of immense uncountable wealth vs. the Rome of remorseless force & iron. Cleopatra wanted to unite the two under one man. She knew she would control any man within sight of her if she could only get him alone. The foibles of all the major characters Caesar, Marc Antony & Cleopatra make for a stirring blend of problems set against the totally foreign to each other social systems.
In the end though, it's all about love. Does it exist or is all manipulation? Is it eternal or only a passing fancy? Do I die for my love, my country, my failures or myself? This is a great rendition of this story given the strictures they had at that time. I'm glad I own it to watch when I want. Hail Caesar! 5 STARS